Positioning marks on the soles make it easy to keep track of proper cleat positioning. Venting in the center of the insole help keep you cool.
Why You Want
You’re in the market for a pair of lightweight, stiff-soled road cycling shoes, are fans of the BOA closure system, are not looking to make a huge fashion statement, and can spend north of $350.
Louis Garneau’s Course 2LS road cycling shoes provide a comfortable, secure fit thanks to a supple micro-fiber and steel mesh upper that’s held in place by a two-dial BOA closure system that distributes pressure evenly across the top of the foot. By going BOA-only, the 2LS also keeps heft in check. Our size 44 test pair weigh a wispy 550 grams with the vented summertime inserts installed. (That number jumps 10 grams when you swap in the un-vented cool weather insoles.) The BOA system also makes it easy to fine-tune adjustment before or during your ride.
At 550 grams for the pair, the Course 2LS are among the lighter shoes on the market.
The outsole is constructed of what Louis Garneau calls Ex0-Jet hot melt carbon where the carbon fiber has gone through a secondary process that it claims make these shoes both lighter and thinner. In turn, this thinner sole lowers stack height, improving power transfer into the pedals.
Additionally, the Course 2LS has a patented venting system where air is allowed to enter the shoe via a vent in the front of the sole, flow down a pair of internal channels, and then exit out another vent in the rear of the sole. Cooling is further enhanced by a seamless micro-fiber upper that has thin steel mesh openings on the tongue and sides of the toe box.
Finally, the Course 2LS’s heel is injected with nylon, which has a low coefficient of friction, improving heel security. Further, the fabric on the inside of the heel area is directional (think what happens when you pet a dog the wrong way), which helps prevent unwanted lift.
The steel mesh on the tongue is hard to clean if it gets gunked up with mud or dirt. Occasionally the BOA wires pull out unevenly and it takes a little fiddling to get them to tighten back up without slack on one side. We also found the toe box to be slightly wide for our narrow foot, and if you have high arches you’ll likely find the stock insoles lacking and need to get a custom pair.
Aesthetically speaking the Course 2LS are nothing special, but underneath that somewhat bland exterior is a top-flight, feature-rich road shoe.
These shoes are also nothing fancy to look at, so if you’re looking to make a splashy on-bike fashion statement, look elsewhere. And of course, at $360 these shoes represent a fairly high commitment, though that price is on par, if not a little less than similar high-end, BOA-equipped offerings from Specialized and Sidi.
For the better part of the last six months, Louis Garneau’s Course 2LS has been our go-to road shoe. We’re big fans of the BOA closure system, which allows for a truly refined fit and can easily be adjusted before or during your ride. Combine that with great heel grip, and these shoes gave us the kind of locked down (but comfortable) fit you’d expect from a pair of $360 kicks.
The proprietary venting system also gets high marks. You don’t actually feel air moving under your toes, but we rode these shoes on some very hot days near the end of summer and did not suffer from excessive hot foot. Perhaps this was also due in part to the vented Ice Fil Ergo Air Cool Stuff insoles that are infused with Xylitol, which is claimed to react with sweat and create a chilling effect. But we cant verify that except to reiterate that our feet remained comfortably cool. (It’s also worth noting that the shoes come stock with a cool-weather insole option (colored red), which has less venting and weighs 5 grams more per insert.)
Left: Dual BOA closures provide an even and secure fit. Steel mesh on the tongue improves ventilation but also collects gunk. Right: A patented channeling system lets air move through the sole of the shoe.
We’re also impressed with the durability of these shoes — and the BOA closure mechanism. The majority of our rides were in lieu of an on-going Guide Book project, which meant a fair amount of walk-around time while taking pictures out on the open road. While we managed to burn through several sets of cleats, the shoes (and especially the soles) have held up quite well. Handy cleat positioning marks on the bottom of the sole made it easy to swap on new cleats.
Bottom line, aside from a tiny bit of extra room in the toe box and slightly uninspired aesthetics, these shoes are a solid top-shelf offering for riders seeking a secure and precise fit with solid power transfer, light weight and good venting.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Weight: 550 grams (size 44 with summer insoles; winter insoles add 10 grams)
Sizes: 38 to 48 with half sizes between 41 and 46
Color: Black or White with subtle red accents
More Info: www.louisgarneau.com
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